By Niall Claffey, AgriLand, Ireland
As the saying goes, ‘you can’t manage what you don’t measure’. Many farmers are reaping the benefits of weighing their cattle as it allows farmers to measure the performance of stock, while also identifying poor-performing animals.
In addition, it allows farmers to: monitor average daily gain (ADG); measure feed consumption and cost; accurately administer treatments; and make better decisions when it comes to breeding.
Data released to AgriLand from Herdwatch indicates the performance of just under 6,800 calves weighed from January 1 to November 28, 2018. It must be noted that the following data originated from the Herdwatch app; it is not taken from any other source.
In 2018, there was a 1,363 head or 25% increase in the number of calves weighed when compared to 2017.
A total of 6,797 calves across 371 farms (up from 218 farms in 2017) have had their weights recorded with the Herdwatch app between January 1 and November 28, 2018.
During this period, 2018-born calves’ average daily gain (ADG) – across all breeds – equaled to 0.99kg/day. In 2017, the ADG across all breeds was 0.84kg/day.
If broken down further, the data indicates that Simmental calves had the best ADG – standing at 1.38kg/day.
This indicates a restructure at the top of the Herdwatch leaderboard as Charolais-cross calves registered the highest ADG of 1.3kg/day for the same period in 2017.
However, both Charolais and Charolais-cross calves follow closely behind with an ADG of 1.37kg/day and 1.25kg/day respectively. These are then followed by Aubrac (1.24kg/day), Parthenaise (1.23kg/day) and Limousin (1.18kg/day).
Aberdeen Angus calves came in at position eight with an ADG of 1.12kg/day and Aberdeen Angus-cross calves had an ADG of 0.76kg/day.
Data source: Herdwatch
In addition, Hereford and Hereford-cross calves scored an ADG of 1.09kg/day and 0.77kg/day.
Unsurprisingly, the lowest performing breed is Jersey. These Jersey-cross calves recorded an ADG of just 0.54kg/day, while Friesian and Friesian-cross calves stood at 0.73kg/day and 0.66kg/day respectively.
Established in 2011, Herdwatch provides farmers with a tool which gives dairy, beef and tillage farmers a “more efficient” way of managing their farm, while also helping with paperwork.